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USDA invests $70 million in plant pest detection, surveillance

Money will go to projects in 49 states for projects including Asian giant hornet research, pollinator health and exotic fruit fly detection.

More than $70 million is being allocated by USDA to support 383 projects in 49 states under the Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721 program. The Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721 program is designed to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, threat mitigation, to safeguard the nursery production system and to respond to plant pest emergencies.  Universities, states, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits, and tribal organizations will carry out selected projects.

In FY 2021, funded projects include:

  • Asian giant hornet research and eradication efforts: $944,116 in Washington and other states.
  • Exotic fruit fly survey and detection: $5,575,000 in Florida and California.
  • Agriculture detector dog teams: $4,287,097 to programs in California, Florida, and nationally.
  • Honeybee and pollinator health: $1,337,819 to protect honeybees, bumble bees and other important pollinators from harmful pests.
  • Biosecurity: $1,339,183 to Texas to monitor for pests in agricultural shipments at ports of entry.
  • Stone fruit and orchard commodities: $1,158,000 to support pest detection surveys in 10 states including New York and Pennsylvania.
  • Forest pests: $876,485 for various detection tools, control methods development, or outreach to protect forests from harmful pests in 16 states, including Arkansas, Indiana, South Carolina, and New Hampshire.
  • Phytophthora ramorum and related species: $513,497 in 14 states and nationally for survey, diagnostics, mitigation, probability modeling, genetic analysis, and outreach.
  • Solanaceous plants (including the tomato commodity): $434,000 to support surveys in 13 states including Texas, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

USDA will use $14 million to rapidly respond to invasive pest emergencies should a pest of high economic consequence be found in the United States. In the past, USDA has used these funds to rapidly respond to pests such as grasshoppers, Mormon crickets, the Asian giant hornet, coconut rhinoceros beetle, exotic fruit flies, and the spotted lanternfly.

The fiscal year 2021 project list includes 29 projects funded through the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN). The NCPN helps the U.S. maintain the infrastructure necessary to ensure that pathogen-free, disease-free and pest-free certified planting materials for fruit trees, grapes, berries, citrus, hops, sweet potatoes, and roses are available to U.S. specialty crop producers.

Since 2009, USDA has supported more than 4,400 projects and provided nearly $670 million in funding through the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program. Collectively, these projects allow USDA and its partners to quickly detect and rapidly respond to invasive plant pests and diseases.

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